Guatemala Lawmaker Accused of Attempted Rape

February 6, 2009

GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan congressman and his advisor are being investigated for the attempted rape of two high school girls whom they allegedly “tricked” into going with them to a hotel in this capital.

Norma Cruz, director of the Survivors Foundation, which is advising the girls’ parents, said prosecutors are expected “to finish their investigations in the next few days in order to open the court case against these individuals.”

The suspects are Estuardo Gómez Cristiano, a member of the right-wing Patriot Party representing the province of Retalhuleu, and his advisor, Al-hans Ceto Quintanilla.

Cruz said the evidence was sufficient to ask the Supreme Court to revoke Gómez’s legislative immunity and allow the case to go forward.

“We know the trial will take a long time, but we have faith that justice will prevail and that the case will not go unpunished,” she said.

The victims, two teenaged sisters attending a private school in Guatemala City, said that they met the lawmaker and his advisor through a classmate who the day of the incident invited them to have lunch “with two good, trusted friends.”

Nonetheless, according to Cruz, instead of taking the girls to a restaurant, the men took them to a hotel “located a block from Congress,” where “they tried to force them to have sex.”

“Perceiving the men’s intentions, the older of the students kicked her attacker and rescued her sister, and they ran out of the place,” Cruz said.

Efe’s attempts to reach the lawmaker and his adviser have been unsuccessful. Neither has appeared at their offices or answered telephone calls.

Cruz said that before the case became public the legislator tried to “bargain” with the schoolgirls’ family persuade them to withdraw the complaint and “in exchange, offered to pay them compensation.”

“The offer was not accepted even though the act was not consummated, because neither the girls nor their parents agreed with the business of negotiating. It is not ethically correct to negotiate this kind of attack, even less when the aggressors are public servants,” Cruz said.

 

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